Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My life has been busy here the last couple of days. Yesterday I went gliding, in a glider!!! Trish and Graeme gave me a soaring experience as a thank you for helping them out. It was wonderful. When we got to the site they suggested they were going to wait a half hour because the clouds were lifting off the mountains and every minute you waited they were getting higher. It was beautiful and sunny so we happily waited in the sunshine being regaled by stories by a female glider pilot that was at least 65. When it was my turn I got strapped in the back seat and Trish ( with Quinn in her Baby Bijorn) was asked to help push the plane around so it was ready to be hooked up to the tow plane. We were set and the tow plane went tearing off down the runway, it was a bit disconcerting to see the tow plane still on the ground and realize we were flying along behind it. The plane finally took off and he towed us on a pretty straight path up to 6000 feet. We were over the mountains by then and the Kiwi who was flying the plane told me that the bumps that we hit were thermals and that we would be going to back to find them to go higher. We turned and found the thermal and circled in it until we got up to about 7700 ft. Then we did some sight seeing and then the pilot saw another plane and went and joined him in his thermal and we circled around and went back up again. Right then and there I learned another similarity between sailing and gliding. When you have 2 sailboats out together, there is always (at least in our minds) a race going on, same with gliders. My New Zealand pilot was in his glory because he was climbing higher and faster than the newer, lilghter plane that was in the same thermal as we were.
After beating the pants off the other plane we flew down the valley and I was allowed after much instruction to take the "stick" and do some flying. I managed to do a short dive, pull up, turn right, and circle and turn left and circle and then get back on an even keel. I even managed to turn the correct way when he asked, that was the most difficult part! Afterwards he went in for a landing and executed a feather light touchdown. What a fabulous gift.

Today, Trish had to go up to the ranch to give the new employees some training. I got to be Grannie Nannie all day!! WE went for three walks, down to the river, to the hydro generator and down to the end of the horse pasture by the grass runway. Quinn liked every one. Trish and the others saw a cougar who they think was eyeing up Moocha (her dog) for lunch. We saw a black bear and a skunk going down the mountain and I was vastly entertained by a very territorial humming bird who chased all the other hummers that came anywhere near "his" feeder. It is gorgeous up at the ranch, so tranquil and the scenery is truly spectacular. When I wasn't walking around or feeding Quinn I just sat on the deck and read my book between gazes at the scenery and the birds.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Trish and Grame arrived home from Kelowna with THE CAR. It is a 1964 Mustang convertible, the first Mustang ever built. This car is actually Trish's future house, they plan to sell the restored product in Australia, where it is worth more, and use the profit as a down payment for a home.
Graeme borrowed his work truck and trailer and off they went to Kelowna, a five hour drive with a 7 week old baby in the vehicle. Trish said Quinn didn't mind being in the car seat the whole way. She had expressed enough milk she was able to bottle feed him, which meant no stopping.

Once they got home they had to unload all the boxes and parts from the truck, the fellow they bought the car from had all of the parts necessary to fix it, he just hadn't got around to doing it. Then Grame backed the big truck and trailer down the hilly driveway, about 200 meters with a wicked curve. My brother Bob just happened to be here and he was on the back of the trailer with a walkie/talkie directing him. As you can see he also came in REALLY handy in the unloading part. We were laughing, there he was holding up this box and his bossy little sister is saying wait, STOP, let me take your picture, well I was the official photographer after all!!!!!
At the bottom of the driveway the Mustang came off the trailer, Graeme's climbing skills came in to play as he rappeled it very slowly off. He said he had never had a more useless rope for the job, but he got it done. Then they hooked up the neighbor's truck and with Trish at the wheel hauled it back up the driveway. (There was no way he could manouver the work truck and trailer in the space infront of the house.)

At the top of the driveway again, they unhooked the Mustang and pushed it into the carport where it will be transformed into a thing of beauty with power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, the works. At the moment the only way these will work is power steering (push, Graeme, push), power brakes (stop, Graeme, stop) air conditioning (blow, Graeme, blow). Trish said they stopped at a fish and chips shop in Kelowna. There they were in the parking lot with the truck, trailer, old beat up car, Trish, Graeme and baby Quinn on the trailer eating there fish and chips. Every guy from 15 to 70 that went into eat had to come over and put his two cents worth. What kind of car? Where did you get it? Are the parts all original? Wow, do you have your work cut out for you! NO KIDDING! GOOD LUCK!
Trish, Quinn and I went for a hike last Friday. We went up a peak called Swansea just to the east of Invermere. It was a gorgeous day, we drove up this rugged old logging road that had a ton of switchbacks on it. Trish said that a lot of mountain bikers use the mountain. The hard core ones bike up and down, THAT would be a workout. At the top of Swansea there were ramps for paragliders to take off from, that is something I would love to do, but only in tamdem, I don't think I could make myself go off the edge myself. We saw a plane gliding around the hills, it looked marvelous, he went over a peak and you could see him circle around and get the updraft off of the cliffs, super.
The view of the Rocky Mountain Trench was spectacular. We saw the Columbia Lake, which is the headwaters for the Columbia River, which Barry and I sailed up last Sept. There was Lake Windermere, Invermere and you could almost see all the way to Radium Hot Springs. Trish's house is just to the left of the picture, she was going to call Graeme and get him to flash a mirror at us so we could pick him out. It was a great day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quinn went for his first ride yesterday. Trish just rode her horse Dusty slowly around the field, Quinn seemed to really enjoy the movement. The horse was perfectly under control the whole time. I climbed on afterwards and got a few riding tips from Trish. That is her little dog Moocha that she and Graeme brought back from Mexico a few years ago. He went to work with her at the ranch everyday so is very used to the horses and loves racing around the field after Trish.

I will have to get used to the changes in the weather since I am living in the mountains again. Yesterday it got really windy and I took a walk down to Lake Windermere and stood on the dock. I figured it was blowing 15 knots and it would have been great to be out on the water in a small sailboat. You would have just flew up and down the lake. Today it snowed out. The snow didn't stay on the ground but the trees on the hills opposite the house are covered in a dusting of snow. How dare it just after we got the whole garden planted. We took the plants in that Trish had in pots on the deck and I went down and covered her tomatoes that she had grown from seed that we put in the ground a few days ago. It is supposed to warm up tomorrow. Trish and Graeme are going to go to Kelowna on the weekend to pick up a 1964 mustang convertible that they have bought, it is in pieces. Graeme is planning on restoring it and selling it for a profit. He has helped his Dad, in Australia, restore a number of vehicles. It should keep him busy for awhile.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I am enjoying being here. This morning we went for a ride, Trish has her horse in a field right next to the house. Her former co-worker at the ranch also keeps her horse here and as she is quite pregnant has no problems with me riding her. This afternoon I cut some of the lawn and helped Trish repot her tomato and pepper plants. We were out on the deck in the rain potting away. I quite enjoyed the rain, not having seen hardly any since we left Canada last August. Barry is in High Level tonight, planning on arriving in Yellowknife sometime tomorrow. The car has made it that far so hopefully it will make it all the way home. Isn't the house lovely?
Tomorrow evening Graeme's band is opening for Trooper. There is a dressing room available where Trish and I will be able to spell each other off looking after Quinn. That should be interesting. Trish has a very small shirt that has the band's name on it so Trish plans to get pictures of him with the boys at his first concert!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

I am safely in Invermere now, except that Trish has moved and she lives in Windermere, so I guess I am in Windermere. Barry has left to drive to Yellowknife. He will stop to visit his brother in Innisfail on the way up and maybe our buddies from Mungo in Edmonton. He will start working on Tuesday persuming the ferry across the Mackenzie River does not get delayed by ice. He has a position with the Government of the Northwest Territories for as long as he wants it. He will be working in the Human Resource Dept. with someone that he has worked with before. He is looking forward to being employed once again.
We continued to have car trouble even after having it repaired in Keremeos. The car kept stalling at low speeds so the last I heard Barry was having it looked at in Calgary. Hopefully they will be able to fix whatever ails it and Barry will have a smooth ride north.
I will be staying in Windermere until the first week in June. Graeme and Trish have rented a lovely home. I will have to take pictures so you can all enjoy it. The price is very reasonable and the wood floors and windows give the home which is located out in the country a feeling of peace and spaciousness. They have a lovely mountain view from their eating area. I have a room to myself in the basement and I have not heard Quinn's crys in the night. Trish and I went up to the ranch yesterday where she had to orient a new employee. Quinn behaved wonderfully and it was great to hike through the bush and look and listen to the river rushing down in the canyon.

More shots of Keremeos. It was located in a river valley with very high mountains of both sides. We found these old cars parked in an orchard next to a fruit stand, there were about 4 cars and 3 tractors.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We set off this morning for Invermere. Kim, Barry's sister had some repairs done to the big red car before we got home so we had some transportation. We caught the 7:00 A.M. ferry and set off through the lower mainland, just taking one wrong turn before we got on #1. There is a mud slide on the #1 highway west of Golden so we thought we would travel on the southern highway the #3. All was fine until about 2:00 P.M. when the air conditioning quit, no problem we just cracked a window and then going through a small town the engine sounded really wierd. Barry looked at the temperature gauge and it was way over the H for HOT and we stopped. Barry put some engine coolant in and we set off again, the car continued to make very horrible noises so we turned around and went to a gas station. The mechanic there said that it is a cracked manifold, apparently the engines in the Crown Vic's are known for that so we are presently stuck in a little town west of Oosoyos. The mechanic figured he might be able to get it fixed tomorrow as there is a part in town. We found a decent hotel room and now are just hanging about. The mountains are very tall around town and there used to be a lot of mining in the area so it is an interesting spot.
This is a nice spot we stopped for lunch, the river in the background has flooded it banks. As we went over a mountain pass we saw SNOW!!
We had a great time visiting on Vancouver Island. We stayed with our good buddies from Dolphin Tales, Debbie and Lynn Greentree. They very kindly opened their home to us and then held a home coming party for us on Saturday night. It was a lovely get together, held in thier yard with a honest to goodness campfire. It felt very Canadian. Most of our cruising friends from last year's Bluewater Cruising Fleet joined us. It was great to swap stories and here what everyone had been up to for the last 9 months. We found it quite COLD. I had to put on a windbreaker and a fleece to keep warm!

We managed to spend one night with Barry's big sister and got in three visits with his Mom and a couple with his little sister. While we were at Sherran's some chicks were born. Sherran and her partner Doug raise chickens and sell eggs. Georgie had a great time watched the chicks break through their eggs. It was a interesting way to spend Mother's Day.
We would have liked to stay longer but my grandson was calling my name and I am quite anxious to get to Invermere, BC to visit him and my daughter and her spouse.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

These pictures are from Tucson, we toured the downtown area and then went out to the University of Arizona to look around. They had a gorgeous football stadium there, the size was just unbelievable. The last picture is of the university, all the buildings on campus were made out of brick. I was amazed that the science library had it's own 4 story building. The students on campus seemed quite diverse with quite a few Asians students wandering around.

We wanted to go and see some of the geology in the region, there were several brochures in the hotel about caves and cave paintings, we could have also gone to Tombstone to see the OK Corral. The only problem was that most of those attractions we 15 to 20 miles out of town and when we called to inquire about bus service, there was none, back in the USA where the motor vehicle is king! They had a great free bus service around the downtown core and we rode it to visit all the places we wanted.

The top picture and the one on the left are from the Presidio or the fort that was part of the original Tucson. The Spaniards inhabited the area and made treaties with some of the local Apache tribes to keep other marauding Indians at bay.

We are safely home in Victoria now. We are staying at a friend's house and they have arranged a get together with all our sailing buddies this evening so that should be a lot of fun. Shortly we are going to run up to visit Barry's Mom and take her out to her favourite eating spot. We hope to leave the Island Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The view out the hotel window the day we left.

We are safe and sound in Tucson, AZ. We will be here two nights and then fly to L.A. - Vancouver- Victoria on Friday. Trying to figure out what we would like to see tomorrow. I wonder how far away Tombstone is??? Will add some pics later.

The morning we left I got up and watched my last Mexican sunrise. It was a bittersweet moment, lots of mixed emotions rolling around in my head.
This is the U.S. Mexican border crossing and I did see a fence, it didn't look like it would be hard to cross, but I imagine they will make it bigger and better before long! Although I have not listened to the news in such a long time I am not sure if they are still going to do that.

I am going to try and find out if there is a NBA playoff game in town tonight, Phoenix, with Canadian Steve Nash, is playing Tucson.I think that would be a great thing to do! We are hoping to get out to see some of the canyons in the area, but this is not Mexico and I am not sure if the bus system here is up to it.

Okay so I got all excited for nothing, Phoenix is playing the Spurs, but they are not the Tucson Spurs, they are the San Antonio Spurs so there will be no NBA game here!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Well she is all put to bed, the tarps are on, the cockroach killer is spread about the boat, the water is in buckets to combat the heat and all the sails are off and she is on the hard for the summer. I think we worked on the boat more in the last week than we have since we left Canada. We are exhausted, the last 2 days have been on the hard, climbing up and down ladders and Barry's hip is giving him a hard time. We finished today at 15:30 hours and went to our hotel room and I ordered a Margarita while I had a bath, the first one since we left Canada. Hope you enjoy the photo montage. Notice the boom gallows wrapped in tarp, the boom wrapped with the sailcover and then with line and that all the fixtures on deck including all the brite work are wrapped in tin foil. In addition to that we covered her in tarps.

Very nice travel trailer, and a very professional crew, they backed in the rig and in one try got Cat's-Paw on the trialer and hauled her out. I chose to ride to the dry storage area on the boat and Barry walked along beside and took pictures.

Here is Barry cleaning out the outboard engine. You have to flush it with fresh water and vinegar. He just put a bucket on the bottom of it and did not have to lower it to the ground. He is about 12 feet in the air at this point.

Here is Cat's-Paw IV at wrapped up and ready for the Mexican summer. The boat next door, by some strange coincidence, is a boat that was one slip over from us in Sidney in 1995. The couple sailing it left the year before we did and we have been trying to catch up to them ever since, I guess we finally did. Imagine 1300 NM from home and you end up next to the boat that you started out being beside 2 years before. It really is a small world.
We went out for dinner with Mungo tonight, so ended this portion of our Mexican adventure with the bunch we started out with. It was a wonderful adventure and I truly look forward to continuing it in the fall. Hopefully we will go in the water in early Nov. head down the west coast of Mexico into Central America, to Panama, Eucador, Galapagos and into the French Polynesian Islands, then onto New Zealand. It is a lot to think about at the moment and all Ii am concentrating on is going home to see my grandbabies, new, old and yet to be born. Keep in touch through out land based e-mail I must get to bed, we have to be up at 0530 and will get into Tucson about 1500.